Endometriosis UK
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Endo and exams

Im in my second year of university, and the past month or so I've been so focussed on trying to stop myself from feeling like I'm dying, to spending a lot of my time at appointments trying to get this diagnosis. Without realising it my three exams are in two weeks time, and I haven't prepared for them at all.

A similar thing happened to me last time, I had a migraine that knocked me out for the whole week before my exams (which my doctor has now said was probably due to so much blood loss) and I really didn't perform well in them.

I'm at a loss with what to do to be honest, I definitely feel like i've already given up, I've barely been to class the past few weeks because of how much pain I've been in, and they haven't been that understanding.

The option that I'm thinking of is just doing them when all the other students would be retaking them in August time, which would give me months to focus on them, but you have to go through a process of getting extenuating circumstances with the uni, which scares me because with how they've been responding to me lately it doesn't give me much faith that they'll believe me.

I've had people tell me "just do it, get them over with" which would be fair enough if I actually had time to revise for them but now I'm really panicking, just wanted your advice or if any of you have messed up exams / missed them due to this.

18 Replies

If you did them now, and didn't do well, would you have the option to resit in Aug? X


Yes but normally I if but resist you're only allowed to get 40%. If I apply for extenuating circumstances there's a chance they'll let me get 100% in august, but the system is strange apparently they're more likely to let you resist them for the whole percentage of you didn't turn up at all than if you try to turn up and do badly


Ah I see, sounds like trying to do them for the first time in August would be the best thing!

Where are you up to with your diagnosis? Xx


Had an ultrasound, trying to get a follow up to talk about the results with my GP, not sure what the next step is or what to push for next


Do you know if your ultrasound revealed anything? X


No the ultrasound person didn't say a word when I left, he paused it on two dark circles next to each other but other than that I have no idea!


It's a shame when they don't tell you what they can see, each scan I've had they've told me in detail so I've been lucky and felt informed. When do you see your GP?

If they are endometriosis cysts (endometriomas/chocolate) especially if they are 4-5cm or more I would ask for a referral to a BSGE specialist endometriosis centre xx


I think he just wanted me out of that room quick because I was crying for the whole thing.

Tried to ring to get an appointment but they've told me to ring back tomorrow to try and get an appointment.


Go immediately to Student Support and let them know what you are going through. You are not ready to take your exams now. You have missed out on some of your learning and have been unable to study due to illness.

Make it clear that you are not simply lazy, but battling pain which prevents you from concentrating. Make sure they understand about how it affects you every day - sleep, bowel movements, pain, bleeding, urinary issues, whatever. Explain you thought you could cope, but things have recently worsened and you kept thinking it would get better and it didn't. Ask what forms you will need to fill in, how long it takes to process them and what will happen next. Ask what your options are and arrange to speak to one of your tutors to find out what you have missed. They may have powerpoints or books to recommend.

Then go straight to your doctor's. Explain your situation to your doctor. Get a doctor's note to support you being signed off with extenuating circumstances. If you don't quite have a diagnosis of endometriosis, they might have to put down something more vague: "pelvic pain awaiting diagnosis" or something like that. (Or see below for my story if you think it's relevant.)

Then you need to see what you can do to help you cope better because something has to change!

See if you can get yourself on some kind of regimen that helps with the pain/ swelling and therefore allows you to concentrate. You will need to see your specialist for this. Main options are probably: Mefenamic Acid, hormone blockers, birth control pill run without a break and surgery. Your doctor may have additional ideas.

MY STORY: I struggled with a new diagnosis of endometriosis, adenomyosis and infertility during my PGCE and nearly failed the course. It's an incredibly intense course. I was overwhelmed by my personal situation + the demands of the course together. The physical pain I was in was just one aspect. I actually got signed off with 'stress-related debility' because I was in a mess - not sleeping, crying all the way to my placement, not eating, not thinking clearly. The situations was not helped by my placement tutor being a seventh level b*tch, seemingly determined to see me fail! It took me a while to recognise that I was basically having a meltdown. :-(

My friends mostly completed their placements, though two others were in the same boat for one reason or another. I had to wait around for another placement to come up and when it did, it was such a different story. Perhaps I was in a better place or the support was better, but I did really well and now I'm a teacher. (And pregnant thanks to donor egg IVF.)

Please don't let fatigue/ pain stop you from succeeding. You have a right to take your exams at a different point when you are well enough.


I'm definitely going to student wellbeing again when they open after Easter.

I've been attempting to get my doctors note for weeks but every time I go they tell me he hasn't written it yet and time is running out for me to hand it in to say I can't go on a residential trip.

I'm on mefenemic acid but it makes me feel nauseous but I'm finding it does help the pain. I stopped taking my birth control because it wasn't doing anything I was bleeding all the time which wasn't preventing much at all.

I can definitely feel a meltdown coming on too and I can relate to tutors being useless as hell, mine told me that I didn't deserve my degree if I wasn't well enough to turn up to stuff.

I'm glad you've pulled through it all and hope I can do the same, things would be so much easier if everyone else around me was helpful in what I need to succeed :(


So sorry to hear you're having this experience hun :( just want to say I'm going through the same thing and can completely empathise. Second year uni, exams are in two weeks. Two weeks left is stressful for 'healthy' students so this is a massive strain on us!! I'm trying to push through and get them done now as I have a full time job lined up for the summer and won't be able to cope with resits.

However, I feel you will benefit a lot from doing them in August. The uni has to work around you, you're not there to have your physical and mental health spiral out of control. I hope everything goes smoothly, smash those exams in August girl!!xx


I just find it so ridiculous that im paying them to be here, yet they're constantly on my back telling me if i cant go to things i dont deserve the degree. Hopefully I can do something about these exams!

1 like

Hi, I am sorry to hear you are having such a difficult time. I have endo but I also work as an adviser at a Student Union.

Obviously every University is different but generally I would advise a student to try to get an extension or a deferral. At our University the student has to ask the department and there is a form to fill in. You would usually have to provide evidence but if you are in the process of diagnosis a doctors letter or appointment letters would usually be enough. If you feel that you need to take longer off for health reasons you can also take an interruption to studies.

If you know in advance that you are not prepared to sit the exams, it is better to try to do this than to sit them and not do as well as your could. As this would mean going through the mitigating/extenuation circumstances process or appealing your results once they have been published which is always more difficult.

You should have student support and guidance within your University who can help you if you are having difficulties. Your University should also have a Student Union with advisers like me. Their job is usually to advised students on the University process's and offer support.

D x


I slightly attempted the process last time when I was suffering with migraines and they didn't really explain my options very well, just told me to sit them which didn't go very well.

I've been to the wellbeing center section of my university, but they said it was out of their hands and up to my individual school to decide my fate, so I'll look at seeing someone else about it.

I'm just so worried that any more time I spend trying to get longer to do exams, will be time wasted if they do make me do them in two weeks time.

While I'm here, it's worth mentioning that I also have a residential trip at the end of this year, last time I went on one when I wasn't even that sick, I've provided them with a doctors note saying that due to anxiety, migraines and now this abdominal pain which is under diagnosis ect, I don't think a residential trip for a week, with outdoors activities that all count towards my grade is something I can do at all, and firstly the lecturer running it told me that If i can't do field work like this I don't deserve my degree, and so I went higher up to my head of school and he basically said "if you were having migraines that badly you would be lying in the dark all day, not getting grades and attendance of 70%" which i do spend most of my time in bed, and my grades and attendance has now dropped to the point where they're constantly texting me telling me to improve it. He basically said I have to go on this trip, and that my doctors note isn't good enough, something i didn't think they could go against, so i told my doctor and hes currently writing me another one. Where do I stand with this? I myself know theres no way I can get on a coach and drive 4 hours, spend all day for a week outdoors hiking and staying in a room with 6 other people who just won't understand my pain.


I would honestly get in touch with your Student Union if the University isn't being helpful. To be honest I spend a lot of my time telling the University the right process and what they should be doing. They just seem to take it upon themselves to do what they think is right.

You should be able to look up the University policies - we have portal were all of them are set out.

You tutor sounds awful. I would consider making a complaint about him - we have a formal and informal complaints process.

In relation to you field trip (again all University's are different) but here it would work in essentially the same way as an assignment. So you would be able to defer it if you are unable to do it and could evidence it.

I would keep all the information and if you discuss things with your department send follow up emails so you have it in writing.

D x


I've got a meeting with a lady at my students union tomorrow. I went to the doctors yesterday and he's written me off uni for a whole month, which if they cooperation means I won't be able to do my exams or go on this trip. I haven't handed it in yet as the woman I've been emailing says to sit down with her and talk things through first so hopefully it all goes well, if they refused a basic doctors note before, hopefully they can't refuse me being written off.


Have you been diagnosed? If you have, it should make it easier to apply for extenuating circumstances as they generally ask for evidence. I have had them for exams before although not because of my endometriosis. It was a completely different situation


No I haven't been diagnosed yet, the process is slow and times running out for me in terms of everything's all about to happen at once and my body can't cope :/


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